Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Pain You Never See...

As we go through life, none of us know what battles the others are facing.  We have no idea of the pain others are trying to manage.  That is the pain no one ever sees - you look fine on the outside, but inside, you are full of either physical or emotional pain.

Most of my life, I spent dealing with bullying and ridicule.  I was never a "thin" person - I was always overweight.  Even at the one time in my life where I was under 200 lbs, I was still overweight.  It never mattered what I had done, I still had to manage with the name calling.  Even worse, I was horrible at athletics.  Only once when I had lost a good bit of weight, I was running that one 8th grade girl said I was fast for a fat girl.

I was proud, but still, there it was.  I am "fat."  

Today, I am still "fat."  Now, I have type 2 diabetes and deal with various back and leg issues.  Other than being overweight, I seem fine on the outside, but I am not.  

I know I hide my pain by eating.  I eat when I am bored or stressed.  I eat when I feel down or upset.  

So, let's change the focus here.  Think about someone else.  That person could be thin and maybe they cut themselves to feel better.  You never see the marks because they are good a covering them.  Another person has dealt with a lot of physical pain, but there are no bruises or scars.  That person is dependent upon pain killers to help them manage the pain.

I am often guilty of lashing out at others.  I know that is because I hold back so much.  The reason for that is because I was taught never to say anything.  I must not be rude to others.  However, holding in so much emotion is not good, either.

There have been plenty of times when I have regretted things I have said or done.  At the same time, I try to always be kind to others.  I just do not know what other people are managing in their lives.  Maybe, it would be nice if we all tried to be nicer to one another.  We need to quit hurting one another more than ever.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Arrrgggghhhh! I Cannot Believe I Did That!!!

I know how it all started.  I was talking with some people at work and started tossing around the idea of having a group attend a Rough Riders game down the street.  At the time, our offices were located near the Rough Riders ball park.

We have put together two game outings.  The first one was the "All You Can Eat" Seats.  We got a section of seats for $20 each.  Then, you could have all you can eat/drink hot dogs, brats, nachos, and soft drinks.  We had a huge group - people brought their kids and everyone had a good time.

The following year, a co-worker and I decided it would be a great idea to get a "patio" for the next event.  Having dealt with the "all-you-can-eat" trough business, we thought it might be a better deal.  You get a catered meal, beer and wine, and soft drinks.  Only problem - the price.  It was double, but we could justify it because we were renting the patio and furthermore, free alcohol for about 2 hours.

That event had a good turnout.  Issues - not everyone got a souvenir hat and popcorn was too salty.  Bonus - since no one was renting the two suites, the ball park opened them up to us to use.

Last year, we did not get enough feedback for the event.  We were late on scheduling and could only get a patio for the last week in August.  No one wants to be out there in the sweltering heat and many were taking that last summer vacation before school started.

This year, we got started early.  We decided to go small - get a patio in the outfield.  Let's be honest, many are using this a social event, not to see the baseball game.  We figured - what would be the point?  We got pretty much the same deal as the year before regarding the food and drinks.

We managed to get just above the minimum required to attend the game, so it is officially "ON".  I am getting people who were sitting on the fence to come up and ask if it is too late to pay to go.  Luckily, we can keep adding, so it is not a problem.

Where did I go wrong?  Yours truly had already paid for a concert ticket for the same night as the group baseball game.  DOH!

I cannot believe I did that.  However, you know what - I will still attend the concert.  I may not be there at 7 PM when the doors open, but I am sure the show won't start until 8 PM - that would be the opening act.  However, the main act will be taking the stage at probably 10 PM.  That should be plenty of time for me to attend the baseball game and concert.  It will be tight, but it is a Friday night, so no expectations for the following morning.  

Still, I cannot believe I did that.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dealing With Ever Changing Technology...

Last weekend, I decided to sign up for a course at Collin County College.  The courses are taken over the internet, thus no physical presence needed to attend class.  Also, the price was right - $109.00.  Try taking similar course at a 4+ year college/university - that would cost $2000+!  Stinking ridiculous, if you ask me.

I am in the process of clearing out stuff, but I have a lot of computer systems - DUH! I am a computer nerd, so what do you expect.  So, while I go through all of these changes, such as a complete network overhaul, I thought I had better use my new Toshiba laptop I got in 2012 and used for the high school reunion.

I am so used to Windows 7 operating system.  Now, I have Windows 8.1 on this particular laptop and it is at times a struggle to get acclimated with the new environment.  Today, I decided I needed to get the shareware software needed to take the course.  I think I have spent the past 30 minutes trying to figure out where to change the PC locking screen and display to remove the high school pictures I set up to rotate.  Next, the system needs to be updated.  I have not turned the laptop on since the reunion!

Trying to sort through that console to locate everything has been a bit of headache.  I know we all must get used to change, but wow - do we have to change things so drastically?

I thought about the changes I am willing to make with my group.  I had the opportunity to talk to a few people who want to move with the corporate strategy.  They like my ideas and are very encouraging.  My old boss is still stuck with only using the product line he knows and the company is striving to go away from that.  I will admit, it was nice to hear that for everything he proposed, his ideas got shot down by management.  What I had to suggest has been embraced.  Funny how that changed.

The technological world out there has so many great ideas and strategies.  I may not get to "grow it myself", but I want the opportunity to use it and apply it.  I only wish my former boss would get with the program.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Making Poor Choices...

Last week, I shared a picture that summed up my health issues.  It basically said "I need to hire someone to knock the bad food out of my hands before I eat it."  Nutshell, so much truth to that.  Unfortunately, I know me and I would end up firing that person after the first knock.

The thing here - I need to own that.  These are my decisions and no one else made them for me and no one certainly forced me to eat those cookies or cake.  

With that being said, food is not "bad".  The amount of food you eat can be bad.  I got tickled with a friend of mine the other day.  He does all of the cooking in his home.  His wife was finally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  I told him to make sure they both attend the class - insurance will pay for it.  So, he was telling me about a meal he prepared the other day and ended with the statement - "We will only have potatoes once a week."  I had to laugh and explained that you can have potatoes, but make sure it is only 1/2 cup and the rest of the meal has a large amount of non-starchy vegetables.  

However, is that a bad idea?  Having that one particular food that you like once a week?  Not really.  I mean, I have to believe in the 80/20 rule.  You follow whatever lifestyle choice you want 80% of the time and 20% of the time, reward yourself with something you enjoy.  This way, you never suffer from cravings or over indulgence.  It really makes a lot of sense.

(Notice I said "lifestyle choice" because I refuse to believe in "diets".  "Diets" do not last.)

This morning, I woke up with the most excruciating tightness in my glutes and quads since June.  Walking the dogs was a real chore and heaven forbid if I tried to stretch that area out before walking the dogs.  Chloe was in right bitchy form this morning.

Also, my blood sugar for the past month has been averaging around 287, which is horrible.  Lack of exercise and poor eating habits have lead to this.  Nutshell, this is of my own doing and no one else's.  I will own this and work on turning around the issue.  Time to go back to drinking the meal replacement shakes and get my steps in each day.  

I know I have been hungry in the past when doing the shakes, but lately, my system is not liking what is going on.  There are days my stomach feels like it is going to explode.  So, maybe it is time to crack down, eat less, and work on being more active.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will finish out my current workout contract with my trainer.  However, I will also start setting up my schedule to visit YMCA for yoga and strength training classes.  Those are free to members and I should take full advantage.

Time to own this.  Also, I need to work on what I started - trying to discover the physical person with less fat.  Who is that person? 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Financial Monitoring Update...

Last week, I got my bonus and paycheck.  I took the bonus money and opened another checking account that is strictly used for the vet bills.  I felt really good about that.  

In regards to keeping an eye on my spending habits, Quicken has helped tremendously.  I finally got all of the sync kinks sorted.  I have removed a majority of my credit cards and that has helped enormously in curbing spur of the moment spending.

I still have that business of mulling over a loan to pay off the high credit card bills.  I know if I could pay off those bills, that would be a huge relief.  Also, getting that lower APR would be nice as well.

Still, I have to remind myself if I do this, it will affect my 401K.  I would like for this to be the only time I take out such a loan against my 401K.  I am hearing all of the reasons not to do this.  At the same time, I am looking to do something to make my life better.  This is not about buying a new car or TV.  So, this is not a decision I am lightly making.

One thing I want to get a handle on is grocery shopping.  I find myself buying more than I really need, even though I make out a list.  I have cut out buying a lot of meats in order to clear out my freezer.  I have been pretty good about staying out of the inside aisles, especially since that is the area for processed foods.

The changes I have made are small, but are starting to make some impact.  That helps me reinforce in my head how change will make a good difference.  Later today/tomorrow, I will go back over all my bills and see where the change is happening. 

This plan is making differences and I am starting to feel a little bit better about my own situation and the things I need to manage.  I did get a good chuckle yesterday.  A FaceBook/Live Journal friend posted "20 Things That Prove You Are Doing Better Than You Think".  One was paying all of your bills and having money left over for other things.

There you go...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Procrastinating Again...

I have been bad about procrastination for most of my life.  At UNT, I even did a speech on procrastination, which I had waited until the last minute to do, and got an A for doing it.  Well, I guess when you are an expert, you will always do well.

Right now, I have rescheduled my U-Verse installation four times because I am not happy with how far I have gotten on cleaning.  I am allowing for too many distractions and that is on me and no one else.  Luckily, I am staying home today and tomorrow (day off!) to take care of the majority of issues.  That way, next weekend, I will not feel so overwhelmed.

It is important for me to get U-Verse into the apartment as it will allow me to reduce the amount of money spent for cable and internet services.  My email addresses will be changing, but I am prepared.  I will send out emails to everyone and as I do my bills, I will change my email addresses that way.  I know I will have to leave TimeWarner and RoadRunner in place for a month, but luckily, I am on the deal where I won't have to pay a U-Verse bill until July/August time frame.  That should allow plenty of time for me to re-route everyone to the new email address.

I may consider moving all accounts to my G-mail account and have that forward over to my new email accounts.  That is definitely something to look into doing.  It would help me immensely.

Last night, I met with a couple I only get to see about once a year.  I met the wife while attending Tarrant County Junior College in the mid-80's.  We both went to North Texas State University in 1986 - she stayed in the dorm and my parents had me drive back and forth to school.  I had wanted to live in the dorm, but neither wanted that.  In fact, they would have been happier had I went to UTA.  

Anyway, my friend met her husband at UNT and soon after that, she dropped out of college and moved back home.  Then, she and her husband got married and had a baby.  During that time, I got a job with IBM and we stopped seeing one another.  It was through FB that we reconnected and I am much happier to have found both of them.  Life was so crazy in the early years, but now, it is so wonderful so see them and get some great laughs.  Maybe this year, I can fly out to Atlanta and attend their annual Halloween party.  Back in the day, my friend would throw some awesome Halloween parties, then with her husband in the mix - the parties were more outrageous, but so much fun.

So, I procrastinated from doing what needed to be done to see them.  I do not mind - it was worth it as I never get to see them these days.  I had a lot of fun and wished I was not such a wimp when it comes to drinking.  I got to feeling pretty light headed last night, so I could not tell if it was due to the alcohol or high blood sugar.  So, I tried to get something that might pull me together.  All the same, I had a wonderful time getting to see this couple and their friends last night.

Now, time to start on the apartment!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Physical Break...

A couple of weeks ago, when Mother Nature decided that Texas needed some of the arctic blasts as one last hurrah for winter, I found myself in a rather twisted situation.  I had over committed myself.

I had hockey tickets and games I wanted to attend.  I also signed up for a personal trainer to help me with losing weight.  Well, with my financial plans, I have decided to forgo renewing my season tickets.  Hockey will always be there.  

I love my personal trainer, but honestly, something in me is not working.  In the beginning, I was good about watching what I ate, working out, and so forth.  After the agonizing pain in June and subsequent back issues, I am not so keen on exercise and not because I do not care for it - I cannot stand the pain.

Furthermore, when I started, I had a solid ground of having lost 35 lbs on my own.  I was walking and getting my 10,000 steps in each day or close to it.  Also, the trainer and I  were working out in the evenings on Tuesday and Thursday.  As time went by, my trainer became the workout teacher for Body Shred courses at YMCA, which I think is fantastic for her.  It started as one class a week and has expanded to two.  Now, it is more difficult for us to get together.  

We tried doing early afternoons, around lunch.  My schedule at work has become a mess.  Now that I am a development manager, all of these people want me on a call to make decisions.  So, I am the one that usually has to cancel.

It is a bit depressing, so when the winter days hit along with a version release, I asked my trainer to suspend our sessions for two weeks.

Yes, I have been horrible about eating and exercising.  However, I also noticed something today.  My back pain has not been there.  I do have serious tightness in my glutes and quads every morning and I am working to figure out how to stretch out those areas.  It makes walking the dogs a torture session in the mornings.  I have noticed that if I walk a lot, then that pain eases up.  I figure I may need to flip my bed around and see if that helps since it happens in the mornings.

I know I have probably gained a lot of weight and I will just have to accept that.  I feel my body is telling me something - go back to your basics and work on that.  At some point, you can go back to strength training.  Take advantage of the gym membership by attending evening classes such as yoga and body shred.  Get the stretching and exercise you need there as well.  

I believe that will be my plan of attack once my workout contract with the trainer is over.  It is not because of her, but me.  I need to get my head back to where it needs to be.  Otherwise, I am wasting both her and my time.

I am not giving up - simply taking a different approach.

Working on My Plan...

Yesterday was bonus/paycheck time.  I got my bonus and bi-monthly paycheck all in one check.  I do not really care for that because I would like to know how much my bonus was without my paycheck in the mix.  However, it is what it is.

Today, I am going to open a checking account and place my bonus money into that account.  This account is strictly for the dogs' care.  I will add money to it, so that I can maintain a certain amount of money for emergency purposes for them.  I feel that this is the best thing I could do for both my dogs and myself. 

Next, I am still looking at how to battle the credit card debt.  I have a plan for that as well.  It is a plan I do not take lightly, either.  That is why the decision to go through it is taking me a little while to just jump into it.  It makes total sense, but at the same time, it could backfire.  That is more of what I want to prevent.

It is nothing illegal.  It is based on advice from those who have done similar actions.  This may help me more than anything.

Another piece in the money puzzle is to reduce the amount of money paid for internet and cable services.  Monday, I have U-Verse being installed and I am actually looking forward to that.  I hope that this will be a good start to getting my office back from being the junk room.  I am working on clearing out a bunch of stuff and have a lot of plans for setting up a server to stay up and running. 

With my father's plans to get rid of the house, I will probably take the lower end Samsung 32" TV from my parents home.  I figure, I could put that in my bedroom and the current TV in my bedroom can go into the "office."  I could always order another U-Verse box, but I will probably wait before doing that.  More or less - just see where I am and see what makes the most sense.

One of the things I really want to do is go back to school and finish my degree.  It weighs on my mind a lot.  Basically, it is unfinished business.  I have seriously thought of getting my degree on-line, but not very sure if that is the route I want to go.  I know of some free courses I can take from MIT to help me with that decision.  The last thing I want is to take an on-line course and not really get much from it.

Of course, that line of thought is a distance away from where I am now.  I will get there - just give me time.

Friday, March 6, 2015

When the Drama Turns Scary...

Back in December, I lost a friend due to some commentary I made regarding some divorce drama being played out on Facebook.  I took a lot of heat from a gang of people for my comments.  Apparently, these people were so sour on the wife that they looked for every excuse in the book to roast her.  

I licked my wounds and hobbled off to my inner world to escape the damage.  Later, I learned that those people who were roasting me had some confessions to some real truths.  I am still no longer a friend with this one person and I doubt we will ever be friends again.  Bottom line, I am okay with that.  I did not say anything wrong and I would say it again.  The bullshit that goes on in a divorce needs to remain off Twitter and Facebook.  It is simply a damn shame that so many of these people have resorted back to acting as they did when we were in high school.

To coin the phrase, I am so over that.

I have slowly come out of my sanctuary and back onto Facebook.  I get the occasional negative response regarding my love of hockey, but I let it go.  I do not provide those the pleasure of getting to me, so I ignore them.  I allow them to sit and twist waiting for something that will never happen.

However, when the new mate of the divorcing couple starts making threats, I have to scratch my head.  That is just downright scary - Fatal Attraction type scary.  It also concerns me.  

Why does this concern me?  This person is so in love with someone who has so many issues that making threats to the other party is not beneath them.  Is love worth doing such incredibly stupid things?  Have we lost all common sense to this point of hurting another physical being because you are hurting emotionally?  

Maybe I was blessed with too much logic?  I mean, I could think of such horrible things, but then I think about the consequences of my actions.  I also think about how would I feel if someone did that to me - if someone hurt the people I loved.  

Revenge should be left to God - bottom line.  None of us have the right to be judge and jury.  You have every right not to like someone for their actions, but the rest of that mess - leave it to God.  Through all of my struggles with other people, when I thought life was at its very worse, I would try so hard to let it go, even though I hurt.  It is so difficult for me to let go of emotional pain.  It is such a struggle, but I try to take it out in a constructive manner.  The most destructive method for me is internal - I will eat.  However, I will never take out that pain onto another person.

We should always carefully consider our actions before doing them.  The damage done can never be repaired.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Where To Go When There Is No One...

These days, my mother was wise beyond her years.  While I realize that life/karma hands out these little challenges, when they all start collecting together, the dam sometimes will break.  It is always nice to have that someone you can lean on to just listen.  Not make decisions, but just listen and comfort you.

Many people have that comfort as they are married or in a serious relationship.  Others have roommates that are good friends.  Those without these bonds turn to family.  Then, there are the select few of us who really have no one to turn.

For me, it was my mother.  She was my rock and security.  When life was tossing around lemons, she showed me how to make lemonade with a twist.  She listened when I did not need a solution; I just needed someone to make me feel better.  Someone to help me see what I could do better and if it really was not me, then reinforce with me that I did all I really could.

As I sit here, writing this, I realize how much I miss my mother.  It has just been a little over five years since she passed and I simply do not know what to do without her.  Most days, I manage to get by the days and try to land on a positive note.  Other days, like this one, where everything that has gone wrong has gone wrong and it is too much to bear, I do not have her to listen.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me was an incident last night.  I do the best I can while working, but I realize I cannot do it alone.  I need time that I just do not have.  Having my dogs has its strain on me as well.  However, last night, I realized once again how very alone I really am.

I was watching a show on Netflix and decided to get some popcorn.  Standing in the kitchen, I heard "drip...drip...drip".  That awful feeling came over me of something bad.  I went to search for it.  The ceiling above the entry way of my apartment was damp and the corner above the staircase dripping water.  On the side wall, there was a damp stream and a damp circle where the sprinkler was.  I called maintenance as I believed this to be an emergency.  My fear is that they will blame me for any damages.  Do not ask me why I feel this way - I worry so much that it happens.

I tried to call my father just to feel better.  Unfortunately, he never picked up the phone.  This is not the first time and somewhere deep within me, I know it will not be the last.  It only reinforces what my mother would say about my father and none of it is very nice.  He has his faults, which I know.  However, his loyalty is elsewhere these days and I am not in that picture.  Maybe it is because his family is generally very distant from one another, I really do not know.  It is what it is.

I called a friend of mine, who I had just spoken with about 15 minutes earlier.  I woke her and I really hate disturbing her, but she is the closest thing to my mother.  I got off my chest my worries in about 5 minutes.  The sad part is this friend has a serious bout of cancer and she won't be around much longer.

When my blood sugar hit lows of in the 40s, I would stagger into the kitchen to get a coke to raise my blood sugar.  I realized I had no one, just like last night.  Where does one go when life gets to be too much. I know most would say put your worry to God, but God does not speak to you as someone here on Earth.  It is comforting to hear a calm voice telling you it is okay or not to worry you did the right thing.  

Maybe God was there helping me to the kitchen when I was struggling to get there.  Maybe He is here now, but I struggle with all of these tests.  It just would be nice to hear my mother's voice again.  It is probably because she as my one true friend.